Camp owners fined over floodwater evacuation
Almost 50 campers had to be evacuated over the Easter long weekend after rising floodwaters threatened to inundate the no-camping zone within which they were staying.
The scene of the evacuation, which was carried out by Sunshine Coast Council officers and police, was located on Kenilworth Camping on the River, which has in recent years been issued breach notices by council for unauthorised camping activities.
At the weekend, 46 campers were evacuated from the western side of the Mary River through a neighbouring paddock.
They were staying in an area that was not approved by Sunshine Coast Council for camping activities.
The camp's operators, Shane and Sharyn Paulger, were fined a combined $5222.
"Council has a duty of care to ensure that appropriate uses are being carried out lawfully in the region and, in this instance, ensure the safety and wellbeing of campers are protected against any potential flood events," a council spokeswoman said.
"Council officers have issued both registered land owners with infringement notices, each carrying a penalty of $2611."
The Paulgers accepted the evacuation took place but declined to comment.
Kenilworth Camping on the River was two years ago threatened with a $183,150 fine for allowing campers to use the facilities despite not having Sunshine Coast Council planning approval.
At the time, a council spokeswoman said the site had a number of breaches.
"These breaches give rise to issues relating to public liability, the adverse environmental impacts on the adjoining Mary River, lack of proper effluent disposal and the lack of basic amenities such as permanent toilets and showering facilities on site," the spokeswoman said at the time.
It led to Mr Paulger's predicament going viral and a petition to "save" the campground gained thousands of online signatures.
A development approval was issued in September last year with a range of conditions for for "operations of bush camping grounds".
In October 2018, Kenilworth Camping commenced an appeal in the Planning and Environment Court against some of the conditions of the approval.
However the approval will take effect once the court appeal has been finalised.